The Death of Spontaneity

Free tonight? I check my watch. 7pm. I am sitting at home. Yes. I am free tonight, I reply. Great, meet you at the usual place? Yes ok, see you there in 20 minutes. And then before long, we’d meet. One of us would be late by ten minutes, the other by half an hour, but regardless of that, we’d meet. And then we would talk, and more friends would suddenly join halfway and it’ll be a crowd before long. Maybe we would go play a game of pool, bowling, kbox if time permits. All with twenty minutes notice.

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Nowadays...

Nowadays it is different. Free tonight? I am wearing my jeans, and off to somewhere. No, I reply, I have something on that I had planned out since last Saturday,  bro. Some other time, perhaps? Oh that’s alright, I’ll just stick around at home, no worries.

But the thing is, I am worried.

I am worried because recently, this has been happening more. Things that then took twenty minutes to decide now take days, and weeks of planning. Concise, sophisticated planning, every minute of our day wrung dry of its value. What used to be a casual question has taken on a whole new meaning. Everytime I hear free tonight? I think of what I have planned, I think of whether I have jam packed my life enough with things to do, people to meet. And when I realise I have, the answer will usually be a clear no, I can’t meet. Why?

Why am I witnessing the death of spontaneity in my life? Is it so hard to do things on a whim? Is it so hard to pack your things and just go?

I see my brother after his track and field training sometimes, and I envy the amount of time he has. He goes to find a pen at Popular, queues up patiently, gets a dessert, battles the long queue, finds a longer route to the bus interchange and casually ambles there, like he has all the time in the world. He misses the bus by seconds and doesn’t even bother to give chase. Was I like that when I was fifteen? Yes, I was. I didn’t even own a mobile phone at that time, and time was aplenty, and I was on the brink of teenage independence. I was not in the rush to spend any of that time.

Back when I was fifteen I was also in track. After training I would take the bus that went by a longer route. I would stop at Chancery Court (opposite ACS Barker) and get a 1 Litre bottle of juice and watch a few buses pass by as I gulped down the contents. Life was simple then. I had no obligation to be anywhere, so if anyone asked me out, I was free. Likewise, if I asked anyone out, I’d get the same reply. No biggie.

What happened? Recently it hasn’t been like that, and looking back, I miss it. Plans are now drawn up like the blueprints of a skyscraper, get these plans messed up, and the skyscraper may just come crashing down. The scaffold that holds my life together will buckle and crush me under it. This isn’t just true for me, I believe we (twenty year-olds like myself) are all moving forward (knowingly or unknowkingly) into a phase of life where we have to be more organised.

Organise your work, studies, family, friends. You’re becoming an adult! You’re on the brink of your lives, you have to absolutely make sure you know what you’re going to do with every minute, every second. You drink beer to destress now, not Coca-Cola! With that privilege comes the responsibility to be hyper organised, if not people around will be upset. The other grown-ups won’t like you to suddenly cancel, or mess up your plans you swore to preserve. Damn. Damn it! What an organised mess we’ve been plunged into.

I don’t think we can ever go back to being the spontaneous and fun loving kids we were in the past. All fun and pleasure is heightened with the element of spontaneity and surprise, and I am sad to say that we’ve either buried this part of ourselves or have placed it on life support. Now we plan our fun, and organise our surprises.

That’s just what it means to grow up, kids. You can’t quite say that this is how you want to turn out, or be assured that you will be this or that in the future. But I guess being organised is our very own way of trying.

Spontaneity. He was a loving friend that brought with him fun, enjoyment and a seemingly unlimited supply of surprises. Rest in peace buddy, you will be dearly missed.

32 thoughts on “The Death of Spontaneity

  1. Thanks for the reminder. Saying ‘no, i’m not free’ is always very easy. But when we continuously say no to our friends, sooner or later, we will be forgotten. Death scares me. And I am always afraid to lose the people that I love.

    Hope you’re well, stranger.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I don’t entirely disagree with the post. But isn’t organisation and planning ahead what we ought to do?

    Once in a while, when I do get “free tonight?” texts from my friends (though increasingly less), I reply with “yes!”, if I am really free that night.

    Spontaneity had not died. It is just part and parcel of growing up. I am in my twenties too, and I would be super displeased with myself if I did not had my life organised. Blueprints is an exaggeration, but weeks of planning is true. You can’t expect yourself to be as free as when you were 15.

    A well-thought and well-written article, I thought. And thanks for opening my mind into this issue, where I think, everyone should do a deep reflection. Tonight? I guess not, not free!

    Liked by 3 people

    • KZ, don’t get me wrong. Because I believe that we ought to plan ahead, and I believe growing up is the way to go. But like an anxious mother watching her son walk off for his first day of school, I can’t help but feel a sadness in the dwindling number of last minute plans. These plans lighted up my life in the past, and now I’m left with close to nothing, the occurrences of these plans less commonplace. To me, it is sad, whilst to you progress may override this sadness. We can agree to disagree on how much we should feel against this change. But you know, I was just left thinking one day, that what if I could relive those times again? Somehow I wouldn’t mind. In fact, that’s just what I need in the frenzy of my ‘organised’ life, idealistic as it sounds. I hope you can indulge with me in this fantasy 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • I believe you just need a bigger circle of friends… But that in itself isn’t easy as we tend to find it more difficult in making new friends as we grow older. Personally, I know which of my friends who can be available in the mornings, who can be available in the afternoons and who can be available in the evenings and nights. I contact them accordingly.

        Other thoughts: life is fleeting. Nothing lasts forever. Perhaps it is only because it is over that the memories of it are so sweet and cherished. The teen reminiscing his childhood, then reminiscing his teenage years, then reminiscing his young adult years, then middle age, etc. What about the experiences of NOW? Live in the now and cherish the now. Things will change; (remember the 3 constants in life?), people, environments and situations change.

        Liked by 1 person

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  4. Reblogged this on endlessparadigm and commented:
    “I don’t think we can ever go back to being the spontaneous and fun loving kids we were in the past. All fun and pleasure is heightened with the element of spontaneity and surprise, and I am sad to say that we’ve either buried this part of ourselves or have placed it on life support. Now we plan our fun, and organise our surprises.”

    Like

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  6. Honestly, who loves to feel packed? Packed with all the arrangements and events we have to attend to. Let’s all have our chance to express who we really want to be and keep this question in our mind

    “Live a life we will remember, or remember the life we lived?”

    As a matter of fact, it is indeed a part of life we all grow up, we introduce new things into our lives and it will continue to change even after we retire. But the sad thing is why do most of us want to live in the past where we were all young and free? Personally, i feel plans we make in life or the events we chart weeks before it is just a structure to how our lives will roughly go. Our good friends, family and own time is still most important. We will all forget each other when the time pass by without us knowing in our fast paced lifestyle. Work, and work and work and work and work. Rest awhile or have a vacation and then back to work. Now, back to the question. Do we want to live a life we will remember just by a snap of a finger? Or do we want to remember the life we lived? The sloppy life that we have to purposely recall, the life that may not have much sparks or joys as we wanted our lives to?

    People say grow up but does growing up means giving up your own time for work? I beg to differ.

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    • Chalmers, You bring up a good point, that it is about perspective. You choose to constantly look forward and embrace the moment, and there is beauty in that. I, on the other hand, choose to reminisce in the past now and then, and it makes for good reflection. It is not entirely pointless, when I look back at the past I have a better idea of how far I’ve come, I have a new respect for the human journey. We all need that sometimes.

      Living in the moment? Sure, it is healthy and I respect that, but try as we might, a lot of us cannot fully live in the moment. The past will always be there, reminding us that we are who we are because of the things we’ve done. We don’t live in the past, we just dream of it now and then. There’s a difference! I don’t disagree with you, but I hope you can empathise with my perspective as well 🙂

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  7. true to say. At a different stage of life, we have a different kind of responsibility. Balancing work and life well is very important.

    No matter what happen stay strong! things would always get better! 🙂

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  8. Reblogged this on WHERE DO I BEGIN and commented:
    Something that I think is true as you get older. While it’s unfair to your friends if you expect them to be spontaneous all the time, I’m not gonna deny that I would love it if they did.

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  10. I totally get what you mean, because with all the things that are piling up with school and work at the same time, my schedules are always packed and it leaves no extra time for any spontaneous plans or meetups.

    But then again organized meet ups can be as fun too I suppose, I believe it’s who you’re with, and not how it’s planned that matters.

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  11. I rarely comment on people’s post but this is really true, and it’s happening as I type. However, I won’t say its the death of spontaneity. It’s more about risk and time assessment. As we grow older, we meet new people and catch up with old ones. There are more things to do and we only have 24 hours a day. If you had time on a particular Friday, and someone asked you out, would you agree immediately? If the answer is yes, then spontaneity is not yet dead. sorry for the post, just wanted to share some stuff. (: Cheers to a good weekend.

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  16. I think that the cause of this mostly lies with how we are brought up.

    When we were young, we yearn to have our own freedom to do the things we want and we like, especially if it allows us to hang out or bond with friends. Some barriers to this are 1. house curfew 2. the parents’ attitude towards said friends, 3. the parents’ attitude towards us going for spontaneous outings. All in all, without the above barriers, we had all the time to spend that, if unused, would allow for greater opportunities for spontaneity.

    However, as we grow older, life would, in one way or another, force us to realise we must dedicate time for our commitments. In schools, we learn to make time for studies. At work, we discover the time we need to perform our duties everyday. With increasing pressure from societies, families and even peers to strive to do better, we start organising Time. Through this, we learn that we have to organise or plan our daily “itineraries”, and this becomes a habit in everyday life.

    Perhaps because of this, we no longer accept spontaneity as something that should be common. Instead, we embrace spontaneity as a rare treat, and a successful spontaneous meeting is indeed an exhilarating event because no one planned for it so it comes as a wonderful surprise.

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